The Military Balance 2018 comes with a new wall chart, displaying the numbers of Chinese, Russian and US land-, air- and sea-based nuclear-delivery systems in 1987, 2017 and 2037.

The Military Balance 2018 Wall Chart. ©IISS

The Military Balance is the IISS’s annual assessment of global military capabilities and defence economics. Included in the print edition is The Military Balance Wall Chart, which this year focuses on strategic-forces modernisation in China, Russia and the United States.

The wall chart displays, by using graphics, the numbers of land-, air- and sea-based nuclear-delivery systems in 1987, 2017 and 2037, and enables side-by-side comparisons both between these states and across time. The chart also provides a detailed equipment inventory, with a breakdown of systems and associated munitions that are assessed (and projected) as being in service in those years.

System categories include: silo-based, transportable and mobile intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs); ballistic-missile submarines (SSBs) and nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs) with submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs); and nuclear-capable bomber aircraft.

Full local and NATO reporting names (where relevant) are included. ‘Legacy’, ‘Modern’ and ‘Future’ systems are clearly labelled, and significant systems, including Russia’s Tu-95 bomber, are accompanied by diagrams.

Other features:

  • Easy-to-read chart detailing which countries operate strategic systems in the land, sea and air domains
  • A timeline for the period 1987–2037, showing:
    • Global nuclear-warhead stockpiles
    • Treaties and agreements, such as the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
    • Warhead/device testing, including North Korean tests
    • The dates on which it is assessed that selected weapons will enter operational service

Text boxes:

  • France and the United Kingdom: nuclear weapons, including an inventory of nuclear-weapons holdings in 1987, 2017 and 2037
  • Nuclear-modernisation trends
  • Defending against strategic-missile threats
  • Europe: non-strategic nuclear weapons

The Military Balance Wall Chart is also available to purchase separately. Bespoke sizes can be accommodated on request.


The Military Balance 2018 was released on 14 February 2018. Print copies are available to order.

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The Military Balance 2018

The Military Balance is the annual IISS assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries.

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